The National Transportation Safety Board hopes to interview the driver of a pickup truck that collided with a church van in the Texas Hill Country, officials said Friday. Thirteen people on the bus were killed.
The pickup driver, Jack Dillon Young, 20, and the lone survivor from the bus, 64-year-old Rose Mary Harris of New Braunfels, remain hospitalized, NTSB investigator in charge Jennifer Morrison said.
Morrison said the collision occurred Wednesday when the northbound pickup truck apparently veered into the lane of the southbound bus in Real County.
Killed were 12 passengers on board the bus, all senior members of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels returning from a retreat, and the bus driver.
“We believe most, if not all, the passengers on the bus were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash,” Morrison said.
The bus was a Ford Econoline 350 van that had been converted into a bus — a common modification.
Federal investigators will look at many factors — the drivers of both vehicles, any impairments, distraction or fatigue, the mechanical conditions of both vehicles and the survivability and crashworthiness of the converted van, as well as road conditions.
At least three calls were made to 911 dispatchers reporting an “erratic driver” prior to the accident, officials said.
Real County Constable Nathan Johnson says that the first call was made by a motorist who reported seeing the pickup truck driver operating the vehicle in an “erratic” way while traveling north on Highway 83.
At least one other call followed. Real County officers were out looking for the vehicle, but didn’t see it. Johnson says another call came in to the Uvalde 911 dispatchers about the same vehicle.
The next call to emergency officials reported the crash between the minibus and the pickup truck.